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Jan 22

Lead Poisoning

Screenshot_6Another environmental factor and danger to think about before investigating a site, is lead. Lead
poisoning is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Lead is a highly toxic metal and is a very strong
poison. It can be found in lead-based paints, including paint of the walls of old houses and buildings
and on toys. It can also be found in contaminated dust and art supplies.
Lead poisoning usually occurs over a period of months or years and can cause severe physical and
mental impairment. Young children are most vulnerable to lead poisoning due to their behavior of
putting things into their mouth.
Lead poisoning occurs when lead is ingested. It can also be caused by breathing in dust that contains
lead. You cannot smell or taste lead and it is not visible to the naked eye.
Lead use to be common in household paint and gasoline in the United States. Although these products
are no longer produced with lead, lead is still present everywhere, especially in older homes and
buildings.
A few common sources of lead include:
House paint from before 1978
Toys made and painted outside the US
Toys and household items painted before 1978
Bullets, curtain weights, and fishing sinkers made of lead
Pipes and sink faucets, which can contaminate water
Chipping house paint and soil polluted by car exhaust
Jewelry, pottery and lead figures
Storage batteries
The symptoms of lead poisoning are varied and the may affect many parts of the body. Most of the
time, lead poisoning builds up slowly. It follows repeated exposures to small quantities of lead. Lead
toxicity is rare after a single exposure.
Signs of repeated exposure include:
Abdominal pain
Abdominal cramps
Aggressive behavior
Sleep problems
Constipation
Irritability
Headaches
Loss of appetite
Fatigue
High blood pressure
Memory Loss
Numbness or tingling in extremities
Kidney dysfunction
Anemia

 

Loss of development skills in children
Since a child’s brain is still developing, lead can lead to mental impairment. Signs of this can include:
Behavior problems
Poor grades
Low IQ
Problems with hearing
Growth delays
Learning difficulties (short and long term)
A high, toxic dose may lead to more emergency symptoms such as:
Severe abdominal pain and cramping
Muscle weakness
Stumbling when walking
Vomiting
Seizures
Coma
Encephalopathy, which manifests as confusion, coma and seizures
Lead poisoning is diagnosed through a blood lead test. This test is performed on a standard blood
sample.
Low levels in adults is common. However, low levels in children are a cause for concern. Normal lead
levels vary by age group. The amount of lead in the blood is measured in micrograms per deciliter
(mcg/dL).
For adults, the normal the normal result is less than 20 mcg/dL. Slightly higher levels may not be
serious. Treatment is recommended if the adult is experiencing symptoms. It is also recommended for
a blood lead level greater than 60 mcg/dL.
For children, a normal result is less than 10 mcg/dL. Any higher level than normal should be
monitored closely and the source of the lead should be removed immediately. A level greater than 45
mcg/dL should always be treated. Levels of 10-25 mcg/dL have been associated with impaired
neurobehavioral development in children. Levels of 25-50 mcg/dL may be associated with headache,
irritability, and early nerve problems. Levels of 50-70 are associated with moderate toxicity, and levels
greater than 70-100 mcg/dL are associated with severe poisoning.
Additional tests may include blood tests to look at the amount of iron storing cells in the blood, x-rays,
and possibly a bone marrow biopsy.
The first step of treatment is to locate and remove the lead source. If it cannot be removed then it
should be sealed. Call your local health department for information on how to remove lead. They can
also help you reduce the likelihood of lead exposure.
Simple steps can help you avoid lead poisoning. Some steps include:
Avoid areas where lead-based paint may have been used
Keep your home free of dust

Test your water for lead. If lead levels are high, consider using a filtering device.
Teach your children to wash their hands after playing.
Clean faucets and aerators regularly.
Make sure any contractor doing work in your house is certified in lead control.
Screen young children for blood lead levels.
Use cold water to prepare any foods or drinks
In researching lead poisoning for this article I discovered a plethora of information out there regarding

this topic. As always, stay safe out there!
Information gathered from www.healthline.com
Shellie Langdeau

Shellie Langdeau

Health & Safety
Department Chair

Hi all! My name is Shellie. I live in Rockville, Rhode Island. Born and raised in “the sticks”, so to speak. I’ve been a social worker for very close to 25 years, working directly with people who suffer from chronic mental illness and substance abuse issues. I didn’t have my first paranormal experience till I was in my early 30’s. Since that time, I’ve been infatuated with the unknown. My mind is driven to want provable facts though. I will search and search to find a logical explanation for everything lol.
Shellie Langdeau

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